Support for passengers' 900-plus family members to continue, says MAS chief

Support for passengers' 900-plus family members to continue, says MAS chief

PETALING JAYA - As the multinational hunt for MH370 goes on, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) will continue to support more than 900 of the passengers' family members with two dedicated caregivers per family to offer care, support and counsel, said group chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya.

He said MAS' comprehensive support programme had more than 700 dedicated caregivers in its network while another 40 additional caregivers were trained in the past 72 hours to ensure the families had access to around-the-clock support.

Ahmad Jauhari, who has been in the harsh glare of the world's media in almost daily press conferences since MH370 disappeared on March 8, said MAS' focus has always been on comforting and supporting the passengers' families.

"We will continue to do this, while we also continue to support the work of the investigating authorities in the southern Indian Ocean," he told reporters at Kuala Lumpur International Airport during a press conference Tuesday.

Expressing his sorrow after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said investigators concluded that MH370 had ended its flight in the southern Indian Ocean, Ahmad Jauhari said "there are no words which can ease that pain".

He said its baffling disappearance, unprecedented in aviation history, had made the past 18 days the greatest challenge MAS has ever faced.

"I stand before you today not only as the group chief executive officer of MAS, but also as a parent, as a brother, as a son.

"My heart breaks to think of the unimaginable pain suffered by all the families," he said, adding that everyone in MAS was praying for the 239 souls onboard MH370 and their loved ones.

Ahmad Jauhari also said he was humbled by the hard work, dedication, concern and support by his team at MAS and thanked the Government and all the other countries involved in the global search effort.

When MAS received approval from the authorities, he said arrangements would be made to fly the families to the recovery areas if they so wished.

He cautioned that it was impossible to predict how long it would take to definitively identify the pieces of debris spotted despite an "increasing number of apparent leads".

"But after 17 days, the announcement made last night and shared with the families is the reality which we must now accept," he said.

Ahmad Jauhari also shot down any media reports that MAS had callously informed the passengers' grief-stricken families of the news by SMS on Monday night.

He said MAS' only motivation had been to ensure the families heard the news before it was announced to the world.

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